What Are The Toughest Spectacle Frames?

People often ask us to recommend a strong frame.  Sometimes they mean a frame that is robust and unlikely to break with rough handling, and sometimes they really want a material that is durable, and resistant to corrosion.  These two things don't always go together.

In terms of durable material, in our opinion, the best options are titanium, stainless steel, or a "memory metal" such as Flexon.  Titanium and stainless steel frames are extremely resistant to corrosion, meaning they don't degrade by being exposed to sweat etc.  Flexon frames are also very resistant to corrosion, as well as being astonishingly flexible.  Frames made out of these materials stay looking good for much longer than standard metal or plastic frames.

Factors influence frame strength include build quality, frame design, and the "meatiness" of the frame. The weakest point for most frames is the hinge piece that connects the temples (arms) to the frame front.  Look for good, solid, well-mounted hinges, and a robust connection to the temple.

 

Build Quality:

Poorly built frames won't last as well, and will be more likely to break.  Build quality can be difficult to define, but to a trained eye the difference in a high-quality frame and a cheaply built frame is obvious.  Generally a frame built with better componentry will last better, as long as it's well-designed.

 

Design

Unfortunately, even "high quality" frames can be poorly designed.  Detailed designs can look great, but sometimes they result in a weak point.  In general, simpler designs have fewer things to go wrong.  If durability/strength is your main priority, don't select anything too complicated.

 

Meatiness

Finally, a frame made in a chunky plastic or metal will usually be stronger than a more lightly-built frame.  Unfortunately, chunky frames can also be heavy, making them less comfortable to wear.  

 

Summary

Our first recommendation for strong & durable glasses would often be a Flexon.  The memory metal is very strong, but also light and corrosion-resistant. 

Another great option can be a chunky plastic frame with a nice solid hinge.  Although the plastic will probably deteriorate over time more than a titanium, stainless, or Flexon frame, a meaty plastic frame is difficult to break anywhere other than at the hinge. 

As always, we recommend you see us or your preferred eyecare professional for advice in-store.  Frame fit and comfort is critical, as well as the ability to physically see and handle what you're buying.  

About Troy Cassidy

Troy graduated from the University of Auckland Optometry programme in 1995, and has worked in optometry practices in NZ, Australia & the UK since then. Along with wife Stephanie, he has owned and operated Cassidy Eyecare in west Auckland since 2010.